Fluoridation Politics

If you keep up with developments on the fluoridation front, you’re likely aware that Portland, Oregon’s City Council opted for it, despite vocal opposition. Anticipating such an outcome, citizen activists had already mobilized to put fluoridation on the ballot, and it’s likely they succeeded.

According to the Salem Statesman Journal, Clean Water Portland submitted more than double the signatures needed – more than 43,000 total – and a day before deadline, too!

If the petitions are certified, the City Council could choose to put the issue before voters next year. Otherwise, the election would be in May 2014.

It’s hard to imagine the council would put it to ballot any sooner than necessary, especially in light of recent news that its members met with pro-fluoride lobbyists yet failed to disclose those meetings as required.

Promoted by then-Commissioner [now Mayor] Sam Adams beginning in 2005, the lobbying and reporting rules are supposed to preserve integrity in city decision-making. The requirements affect both lobbyists and city officials and are meant to reveal who attempts to influence city leaders – and on what topic.

Upstream Public Health is behind the push to add fluoride to Portland drinking water. But its plan has since been challenged through a referendum effort that may block the City Council’s Sept. 12 unanimous approval.

According to a recently filed disclosure, lobbyists reported meeting with Commissioners Randy Leonard on July 26, Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish on Aug. 2, Amanda Fritz on Aug. 6 and Mayor Adams on Aug. 27 to push for fluoride in public drinking water.

But those same city officials –who are required to publicly post their calendars on a quarterly basis – either didn’t disclose the meetings about fluoride or left a vague subject heading. Adams and Leonard say they weren’t actually present at the meetings.

Regardless of fluoride’s potential role dental health, giving it to everyone via a necessity such as drinking water whether they need it or not is, as we noted previously , ethically dubious at best. As Dr. Paul Connett has asked, “What other drug have we ever delivered through the public water supply?”

None. And for obvious reasons: 1) You cannot control the dose, 2) You cannot control who gets it, and 3) It violates the individual’s right to informed consent to medicine.

Fortunately, more people become informed every day and choose to take a stand for their right to choose. And education is what Clean Water Portland is focused on now.

One teaching tool is the powerful documentary An Inconvenient Tooth, which was released at Portland City Hall just about a week before the council vote – and which you can watch in its entirety below.

Learn more about Clean Water Portland.

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